Are you considering adopting a reptile? If so, you may want to look into crested geckos. These little guys are very cute and fun pets. As your local Marion, IA vet, I go over some basics of crested gecko care in this article.
Crested geckos originated in New Caledonia. They are arboreal, which means that they live in trees naturally. This makes for a very pretty display case! Once considered extremely rare, they are now quite popular pets. These pretty lizards aren’t very big, with adults rarely getting longer than 8 inches. However, they can live up to 20 years with good care. Before adopting one, make sure you can commit to owning it for its entire lifespan.
Baby crested geckos can do fine in a 10-gallon reptile tank. Adults need more room than that, however. To ensure proper ventilation, choose a tank with a screened cover. You will need to provide proper environmental conditions. The tank should stay around 78-82 °F during the day, but can drop to the lower 70’s at night. In summer, the tank should stay below 87 °F. In winter, it shouldn’t get colder than 60-65 °F. If you do need to use heat for your pet’s tank, keep one end unheated, so your lizard can cool off in that area if needed. As for light, we recommend either a ceramic heat emitter or a low-watt incandescent bulb. Heating tape or under-tank heating pads will also work. Last but not least, crested geckos require 50-70 percent humidity. You may need a mister for this.
Crested geckos enjoy having some live plants to rest and hide in. As for substrate, you can use reptile carpet, coir, or a peat moss/soil mix that doesn’t contain perlite. Your lizard will appreciate having places to climb and explore, such as cork bark sections. You’ll also need to add a water bowl.
In the wild, crested geckos eat live insects. Pet ones can eat powdered commercial gecko food. However, even if you provide commercial food, your pet will enjoy some live creepy crawlies as treats. You’ll need to dust them with nutritional powder before letting your lizard eat them. You can also give your gecko fruit as a snack. Ask your vet for specific information.
Please contact me, your Marion, IA vet, with questions about reptile care. I’m happy to help.